SOMM Recordings is delighted to announce the label return of the chamber choir Londinium and director Andrew Griffiths with Every Living Creature, a recital of choral music by Kenneth Leighton on the 35th anniversary of his death featuring five premiere recordings.
The album unearths a number of significant works by this important British composer, including the extraordinary, eight-movement Laudes Animantium, a 25-minute work for double choir, soloists and children’s chorus, as well as a superb setting of John Donne’s Nativitie and the charming Three Carols (1948).
Also featured are the partsong London Town and three more sacred works: Lord, When the Sense of Thy Sweet Grace, An evening hymn and A Hymn to the Trinity. Five of the pieces are heard on disc for the first time; the remaining four have been recorded only once before.
Londinium is joined by soloists Rebecca Lea and Nina Bennet (sopranos), Ciara Hendrick (mezzo-soprano), Nick Pritchard (tenor) and, in the finale of Laudes Animantium, the choir of Finchley Children’s Music Group.
In his insightful booklet notes, Griffiths writes: “It is rare to find a choral singer who does not enjoy performing Leighton’s works. His music is rooted in rigorous part-writing and counterpoint, and alive with invigorating rhythm, motivic interplay and piquant dissonance, underlaid with a deeply lyrical instinct and an exquisite sensitivity to the meaning and colour of text”.
Londinium and Andrew Griffiths’ debut SOMM release was The Gluepot Connection, a compendium portrait of British musical life in the middle of the last century (SOMMCD 180), a MusicWeb International Recording of the Year, hailed as “a brilliant concept” and “flawlessly performed”. It received a five-star review from Choir & Organ, and four stars from BBC Music Magazine and The Daily Telegraph, with Gramophone hailing its “impressive accomplishment” and declaring it “well worth seeking out”.
On This Recording
- I. Prelude e
- II. Scherzo: Calico Pie b
- III. The Nightingale be
- IV. The Lamb h
- V. The Kraken b
- VI. The Grey Squirrel
- VII. The Tyger
- VIII. Every Living Creature acde
- An evening hymn
- London Town
- Lord, When the Sense of Thy Sweet Grace
- Lully, lulla, thou tiny little child f
- The seven joys of Mary* g
- Sleep, Holy Babe*
- A Hymn to the Trinity
Laudes Animantium, Op.61*
An evening hymn b
London Town* be
Lord, When the Sense of Thy Sweet Grace* b
Three Carols (1948)
A Hymn to the Trinity
a Finchley Children’s Music Group (Grace Rossiter, music director)
b Rebecca Lea,
c Nina Bennet, soprano
d Ciara Hendrick, mezzo-soprano
e Nick Pritchard tenor
f Helena Whitfield
g Fiona Clark, Ben Byram-Wigfield, Clare Loosely, Isobel McIntosh
h Soloists from Finchley Children’s Music Group (Arielle Loewinger, Madelaine Napier)
* First Recordings